Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Two Paths to Publication

I have noticed via "writerly" friends that many of the receive emails/tweets/notes from fans and/or other writers asking them for advice on how to break into the business of "authoring."
Yes, I realize I've created two new words.

For those who would like to ask my opinion on how to begin a career, I believe there are two ways to go about it.

1) The Traditional Route
Step 1: Write a great book.
Step 2: Query literary agents.
Step 3: Sign with a literary agent. If not, write another great book and begin again with Step 2.
Step 4 (optional - depending on your agent): Revisions.
Step 5: Submission to publishers.
Step 6: Wait.
Step 7: Offers from publishers. If not, return to Step 4 or 5 and begin again with a different book.
Step 8: Revision per editorial notes.
Step 9: More revision per editorial notes.
Step 10: More revisions per copy editor.
Step 11: Promotion, blog tours, cover reveals, etc.
Step 12: Book release.
Step 13: Repeat Step 11.
Step 14: Write the next book and begin again at Step 4 or 5.

2) The Self-Publishing Route
Step 1: Write a great book.
Step 2: Hire a freelance editor.
Step 3: Revisions per editorial notes.
Step 4: Hire a copy editor.
Step 5: Revisions per the copy editor notes.
Step 6: Hire a graphic artist for the cover and manage creative process.
Step 7: Hire a formatter, or learn how to format your own book per publisher guidelines.
Step 8: Promotion, blog tours, cover reveals, etc.
Step 9: Upload appropriate formatted versions to various publishers.
Step 10: Book Release.
Step 11: Repeat Step 8.
Step 12: Write another great book and begin again from Step 2.

As you can see, both routes have almost an equal amount of steps, although the traditional route does take a significant amount of time LONGER, as you deal with agents and the publisher's staff availability, tastes and schedules, versus hiring freelancers.

Both paths are valid, and hard work and both begin with the same first step: Writing a great book.

I wish you all the best of luck in which ever path you choose.
I know some authors that do both!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

How to Whore Your Books on Social Media Without Being Annoying

At the behest of a fabulous writer [Kristine Wyllys {THE WILD ONES} - go buy it!] I am endeavoring to write a suggestive blog post on how to market, promote and "whore" your books without being one of those authors you find so annoying you unFollow them on Twitter.

What Not To Do #1:
1) Do not tweet every single hour, even perhaps not every single day, with links to Amazon to buy your book. Psst - It's annoying.

What To Do #1:
1) Reserve tweets and FB posts etc. of links to your books if you get a good quote from a fellow author.
Ex. "[Other author's quote] [link to Amazon or independent book seller]" - then shut up.

I'm in promo-mode right now and I do this ONCE a WEEK. This is a mutually beneficial tweet. It markets the other writer and your book at the same time. Most likely, the other writer (at least, perhaps more) will reTweet you. Thank the other writer for the quote (profusely, they did you a huge favor), and for the reTweet - then shut up.

SIDE NOTE: Do NOT tweet every single blog review you get for your book. Reserve those tweets for a select few which either make you cry, or for a blog with an enormous following. And if you do tweet it, DON'T tweet or FB another link within the same week (including the author quote tweets). Otherwise, it's too much.

SIDE NOTE: If another author asks you to read and blurb their book - DO IT. Then you can promote the other author's book, and get your name around at the same time, which helps your sales. Mutually beneficial exposure is a good thing.

What Not To Do #2:
2) Do not take photos of celebrities, or stock photos you haven't paid for, and post or Tweet them as promotion for your books.
A) It's against the law, and B) It's inconsiderate.
Would you want YOUR picture used to promote a product without your consent?
Recently, Katherine Heigel sued a drug store for tweeting a picture of her holding one of their shopping bags. Actors and models GET PAID for their image. So, stealing their likeness to sell your product is no better than an on-line "library" taking your book and giving away free copies. It's pirating.

What To Do #2:
2)  Visit the many numerous stock photo websites and BUY and/or LICENSE (legally) a picture, slap a quote on it from your book and FB post or Tweet it - ONCE. You can use it on your FB page or Twitter as a cover photo, put it up on your blog, and post it on your website - but tweeting the same photo over and over again is annoying and repetitive.

SIDE NOTE: If you write erotica, make sure the pic is PG-13. I one time saw a pic of a woman grabbing her crotch as an advert. for an erotica book and I was disgusted. If you want to promote how sexy your book is, keep it tasteful.

What Not to Do #3:
3) Be pushy.
Agents, bloggers, readers and editors alike love to talk about books on Twitter and FB. Do not tweet directly at them with your recommendations, it's considered bad form.

Ex. "I saw on your website you like clown stories [insert link] is my book about clowns!"
Or, "Read my book [link], I need an agent/editor/reviewer."

Um. RUDE! They didn't ask for your book recommendation. STFU!

What To Do #3:
3) If a writer, reader, blogger, agent, editor - whoever - ASKS or tweets, FBs or blogs about how they wish they could find a book like [insert type of book here], feel free to promote yours or someone else's book, if it fits the criteria.

Ex. Agent Tweet: "Gee, I wish I could find some gritty NA."
Me: "You'd love THE WILD ONES by Kristine Wyllys, in that case."

Ex. Reader: "Looking for a book that tackles childhood depression. Any recommendations?"
Me: "I humbly suggest SHUT UP by me [insert link]"

Then shut up.

If they don't ask. Don't pimp.
If they ASK, politely pimp away.
Then shut up.

You catching on yet?

Other Methods of Social Media Whoring:

A) The cover reveal.
 - These are great. If you participate in a cover reveal for your soon to be released book, thank each person for tweeting your cover, but DON'T retweet every single one. The people on your feed are already getting bombarded with your book cover, don't make it worse.

B) The blog tour
 - These are great, too. Same rule applies. If a blogger tweets a link to their review, thank them, but don't retweet every single one. Same reason. Too. Much.
- If you feel the need to retweet ONE, do so. Then?
You guessed it!
Shut up.

C) The book trailer
 - Book trailers are a fantastic way to spread awareness of your book. I caution, however, don't make a bad one, because it will have the exact opposite affect.

Ex. I saw a romance author re-enact the love story in her book using pictures of her dogs and their squeaky toys.
Perhaps it was meant to be funny - but all I kept thinking was, "She's kidding, right? Please tell me she's kidding. Please. Omg, this is soooooo horrendous."

If you don't have the means to make a good book trailer, just don't make one. It's better to have no trailer, than one that is embarrassingly bad. Embarrassingly bad also equals stock photos put together on your iPhone with stolen music and a crappily recorded voice over, or floating text. There are a billion of these types of book trailers out there and they don't help with book sales. If you want to make one to entertain yourself, just show your mother and best friend - because in all truth, they're the only ones who will think it's as cool as you do.

If and when you produce and/or pay for a professional book trailer, put it up on YouTube, perhaps hire a PR firm to do a trailer reveal (similar to a cover reveal), post it on FB, Twitter, etc. ONCE - and then…

Care to guess what I'll say…?

That's right!


The simple truth to whoring your books on social media is just that…Keep it simple.
Yes, promote yourself.
Yes, promote other books and other writers.
Yes, do the cover reveal, blog tour and have a book trailer professionally produced - but then...?

I don't even have to say, do I?

Once your book is out and in the world, you should stop with the weekly promotional tweets, unless you get an incredible review from a blog with an enormous following.

The best promotion you can do AFTER the cover reveal, blog tour, book trailer and launch?